Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 101, Issue 3, pp 415-434

First online:

A New Scale to Measure Executive Servant Leadership: Development, Analysis, and Implications for Research

  • Lora L. ReedAffiliated withEckerd College Email author 
  • , Deborah Vidaver-CohenAffiliated withFlorida International University
  • , Scott R. ColwellAffiliated withCollege of Management and Economics, University of Guelph

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This article introduces a new scale to measure executive servant leadership, situating the need for this scale within the context of ethical leadership and its impacts on followers, organizations and the greater society. The literature on servant leadership is reviewed and servant leadership is compared to other concepts that share dimensions of ethical leadership (e.g., transformational, authentic, and spiritual leadership). Next, the Executive Servant Leadership Scale (ESLS) is introduced, and its contributions and limitations discussed. We conclude with an agenda for future research, describing ways the measure can be used to test hypotheses about organizational moral climate, ethical organizational culture, corporate responsibility, and institutional theory.


servant leadership leadership scale development ethical leadership transformational leadership authentic leadership spiritual leadership moral climate ethical organizational culture institutional theory corporate responsibility interpersonal support moral integrity altruism egalitarianism transactional leadership building community